Thursday, May 23, 2013

Revisiting the Knicks

You've read Dune, surely?  Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterpiece?

I bring it up because, like all good science fiction, it has interesting, thought-provoking details sprinkled throughout.  And one of them has to do with knife fighting using high technology, invisible shields.  The kicker is that if you stab your knife at the man behind the shield using full speed -- the way I'm assuming one might typically stab someone in a knife fight -- the shield repels the blade.  But if you arrange, through the ballet of personal combat, a situation that allows you to (relatively) slowly push the knife through the shield, the shield yields and you kill or maim your opponent.

So it is a mixture of strength and finesse.  Strength to achieve the position; finesse to put the knife in.

Which, dear friends, is an obvious metaphor for basketball.  It takes a lot of muscle in the modern NBA game to get your shot off in traffic, or with a defender seemingly surgically attached to your stomach. But then, as one elevates, the zen of the thing is to, for one critical moment, replace everything -- all that tension; all that muscular compression; everything -- with a kind of relaxed calm.  This is the magic of basketball, friends.  Because if you are still tensed up when you release the ball, it likely won't go in.  But if you're not ... if, for that half a second it takes for you to roll the ball off your fingertips, everything is at peace ... well, it's just wonderful.

A week or two ago I was entertaining this fantasy about the Knicks.  I thought they might be catching the Miami Heat at the most opportune moment, with an ailing Dwyane Wade.  I thought the Knicks might even beat them.  What I didn't take into account was the Indianapolis Pacers.  They took the Knicks out behind the woodshed and beat the Snickers out of them.  Whatever that means.

I'll tell you what it means.  It means we need to get stronger in the offseason.  Of course, we can't -- due to some arcane salary cap issues and the sins of the previous regime.  But we have to.

Is it a reference to the candy bar?  A Snickers bar?
I don't know what it's referring to.  Sometimes the words just come out.

Did you see the Heat/Pacers game last night.  Wow.  Great game, but barring injury the series is now officially over.  Heat over Pacers by about 15 in game 2, win one in Indy, close it out in game 5 in Miami.  Bet the house.

The Heat, it should be noted, have won 46 out of their last 49 games.  Which is astounding.

With a record like that, the Mets could be in first place.
Yes they could.

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